Surviving Corporate Public Relations as a Newbie

I am approaching my third year of working in the corporate world of communications.  Here are a few pointers I picked up along the way, which are helpful no matter what industry you end up in as a new hire:

Dress the part: If you dress as though you are in a position of authority, even if you are on the bottom of the totem pole, people will see that you take your role seriously. It often helps you look a bit older which will translate into being more professional. People will take notice and you’ll never get called out for looking “too professional.”

Stay informed: Keep aware of trends in news and communications. You likely know more than you realize and this provides a huge opportunity to serve as a mentor (instead of always being the mentee) to the well-seasoned colleagues you will encounter in the corporate world. Also, make sure you are abreast of the overall state of business for your industry and how your company fits into the scenario. Competitive analysis is vitally important and you can impress and shock your colleagues if you are a beacon of knowledge, or at least aware of the trends.

Seek out opportunities to expose your talents: Look for ways to improve functionality or a creative solution to combat an issue your department is experiencing. Prove to your boss that you not only understand the business, but you also have the talent and creativity to develop a strategic plan. Showing this type of initiative will help your manager and leadership personnel realize your dedication to the team and your position.

Find multiple mentors: You can never have too many mentors. Try to get one in your actual department other than your direct manager, if the staff is large enough to do so. In case you need advice you have a person to share ideas with. Find an executive that will help be your voice and stand up for you with important human resource decisions, as well as expose you to other leaders in your and other departments.

Lean on other recent hires (if possible): It’s always good to keep your peers on your good side. You never know what will happen and you could end up managing them or working for them at some point during your career. The last thing you want is to be so competitive with your peers that if and when you end up on a team with them, they don’t want to work with you.

Jennie Ecclestone is currently the Assistant Manager of Social Media and Executive Communications, Product Development and New Technology, General Motors Co. She is an active PRSA member and has spoken at various PRSA luncheons and social media conferences regarding GM’s outreach.

1 thought on “Surviving Corporate Public Relations as a Newbie

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      Jennie, your points are beneficial for a PR student looking to enter any field! I especially like your point about finding multiple mentors. In a field that is run by relationships, establishing multiple mentors can only help move you forward in the field!

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